Practical Tips for Wig Wearers: Protecting Your Natural Hair
Beauty is something we desire and pursue in our daily lives. But sometimes inappropriate actions can backfire. My favorite easy way to vary your hairstyle is to wear a wig. But if you’re not careful, wearing them for long periods of time can damage and dry out your natural hair. To protect your natural hair while enjoying braided wigs, I’ve learned several helpful tips over the years of wearing wigs.
I make sure to wash and condition my hair thoroughly before putting any wig on. Synthetics and wigs are more likely to fall out due to the oils and deposits that slowly build up on your scalp. After a good wash, my scalp feels revitalized, allowing my wig to fit more comfortably. It’s also a good idea to detangle your hair gently with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to avoid breakage or damage.
Most of my knotless twists have a strip of elastic sewn into the inside. But over time, that band can put too much pressure on my hairline and cause it to break. To reduce friction, I replace it with a softer material like silk, satin, or velvet. I wrap all the ends inside with a soft cloth because my braids tend to scratch even with the elastic inserted through the lace wig caps.
When it comes to finding a safe and comfortable wig, I prefer knotless braid wig styles. The best option is to keep the drawstring or elastic band as loose as possible. The key is to make it fit fairly snugly, then for added security, use a bobby pin or wig grip adhesive. Some of my own hair can peek through my crochet braids and lace wigs, which blend in more organically. Stiff soccer blocks blood flow to hair follicles, which can damage them over time.
Maintaining a clean, moisturized, and healthy scalp is another important tip for protecting your natural hair while wearing a wig. This requires washing the scalp regularly — at least once a week, but ideally two or three times. When washing, use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo made for scalps with dry or sensitive skin. To help break down oil, sweat and debris, massage the shampoo into your scalp in circular motions for two to three minutes.
You should carefully condition your scalp after shampooing to retain moisture. Use a conditioner that’s specially formulated for dry, itchy or irritated scalps. Leave the conditioner on your scalp for three to five minutes to hydrate and calm the scalp. Applying gentle pressure with your fingers, massage the conditioner into the scalp, paying special attention to any areas that are prone to dryness or oiliness. Oils like jojoba, argan and coconut hydrate and moisturize the scalp, helping to fight irritation and oiliness. Massage 2-3 drops of oil into your scalp, focusing on your hairline and crown. This regimen will keep your scalp clean, hydrated and healthy to promote hair growth under your wig.
I try to remove my wig for a day or two each week, even when I’m favoring a certain style. My natural hair can now get some moisture and my scalp can “breathe” again. When I wear a wig everyday for months at a time, my strands can become weak and dry due to lack of exposure to air and moisture from bathing. Periodically the scalp gets stimulated and my hair stays healthy there.
When I first started using crisscross braids and braided wigs regularly, I noticed a lot of shedding and tangling in my hair over time. I now gradually adopt new wig styles, starting with short-knotted braids. As my hair gets used to the change, I gradually increase my daily use to a few days a week. To prevent damage in the first place, moving slowly helps reduce stress on my ligaments.
Finally, it’s important to remember that wearing a braided wig is just one part of your natural hair care routine. To keep your hair healthy and strong, you should also make sure to eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and protect your hair from heat and environmental damage. This means avoiding excessive heat styling, wearing a protective style when necessary, and using a scarf or hat to protect your hair from the sun and wind.
Finally, wearing braid wigs can be a great way to protect your natural hair while still enjoying the versatility and convenience that wigs offer. I have discovered a happy medium where my natural hair stays healthy even under my favorite wig designs by keeping wig care tips in mind. I hope they help protect your hair while you style these braided wigs!